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Choice of Friends[a]

10 Do not abandon old friends;
    new ones cannot equal them.
A new friend is like new wine—
    when it has aged, you drink it with pleasure.
11 Do not envy the wicked
    for you do not know when their day will come.
12 Do not delight in the pleasures of the ungodly;
    remember, they will not die unpunished.

13 Keep away from those who have power to kill,
    and you will not be filled with the dread of death.
But if you come near them, do not offend them,
    lest they take away your life.
Know that you are stepping among snares
    and walking over a net.

14 As best you can, answer your neighbor,
    and associate with the wise.
15 With the learned exchange ideas;
    and let all your conversation be about the law of the Most High.
16 Take the righteous for your table companions;
    and let your glory be in the fear of God.

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  1. 9:10–16 The second of Ben Sira’s poems on friendship; cf. note on 6:5–17. In choosing friends, adherence to the law of the Lord should serve as a guide (v. 15). Associate with true friends (v. 10), with the righteous and the learned (vv. 14–16); avoid the company of the mighty and of sinners (vv. 11–13). Cf. 8:1–19.